Dwarf Rhododendron
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Dwarf Rhododendron
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Dwarf Rhododendron • Hindi: Atarasu, तालीस Talis, Talisiri, Tals • Nepali: सुनपाति Sunpaati • Sanskrit: तालीसपत्र Talisapatra
Botanical name: Rhododendron anthopogon    Family: Ericaceae (Blueberry family)
Synonyms: Rhododendron anthopogon var. album

This is probably one of the smallest of rhododendrons. Grows to no more that 2-3 ft high. The white or yellow flowers, tinged with pink, grow in small compact clusters of 4-6 and each flower is 2 cm across. The dark green oval leaves are strongly aromatic and densely scaly underneath. The leaves are mixed with Juniper and used as incense in Buddhist monastries as well as in Hindu religious ceremonies. This species is globally distributed in the Himalayan range across Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and SE Tibet between an altitude range of 3000-4800 m. Within India, it has been recorded in Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
Medicinal uses: In Nepal, Dwarf Rhododendron is used in making an essential oil. Anthopogon oil, as it is usually referred to in Nepal, is obtained by steam distillation of the aerial part of this shrub. It is a fluid liquid of pale yellow colour and sweet-herbal, faintly balsamic aroma. Rhododendron can be used in gouty rheumatic conditions. The essential oil is a stimulant and affects fibrous tissue, bones and nervous system.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed enroute to Bumla Pass, Arunachal Pradesh.
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